My 12 years creating IMDb pages: Celebrating the people that make the films and TV shows you love

For 12 years, I’ve been creating IMDb pages for the 36th most-visited site on the internet. In case you were wondering, the 36th most-visited site on the entire internet is Internet Movie Database, more commonly known as IMDb. [1]

The 25,000+ individual credits I’ve uploaded puts me in the top 1% of contributors worldwide. Every show is a little different, so I still learn something each time I take on a job. Most of the titles I’ve uploaded credits for premiered on Australian or New Zealand TV, including Sammy J’s Playground Politics, 7 Days, and Eddie’s Lil’ Homies. I’ve even created a page for an Academy Award-winning producer.

This is the untold story of how I started doing this and why I continue to create IMDb pages.

Why I started creating IMDb pages

It started as a selfish pursuit. When I first entered the industry as a comedy writer, I noticed many of the writers and producers I looked up to would link to their IMDb page on their website or in their email signature. I figured if it was good enough for them, then it was good enough for me and the few community TV credits I had at the time! At the start of a career, your actual CV is pretty empty, so linking to your IMDb page (providing you’ve got at least one on-screen credit) is an excellent way to communicate what you’ve done.

The first IMDb pages I made were for TV shows and films I worked on. Then one day, someone offered to pay me to upload the credits for a show I hadn’t worked on. It had never crossed my mind that this might be something people were willing to pay for.

As the years went by and I worked my way up to TV producer, I realised that I got a huge amount of satisfaction from crediting my casts and crews. I’d share the link to our show’s IMDb page and people would be really happy. I’d get emails back saying “Whoa! That’s so cool!” or “I didn’t realise I had an IMDb page!” The people that worked with me started linking to their IMDb pages on their websites and email signatures.

Other than seeing your name in the on-screen credits at the end of an episode, I realised this was the next best way to publicly celebrate everyone’s contribution. Taking the time to create an IMDb page for the shows I produced, in a small way, helped people get their next gigs. This is why I take a lot of care and pride in making sure we credit the entire cast and crew, not just those on the call sheet who sit above the line.

How I learned to create IMDb pages

Anyone can learn how to upload IMDb credits, but it’s easy to create a page that looks half-done. I like helping producers take a more inclusive approach, while saving them the significant amount of time it would take to do it themselves. 🕰️

Happily, IMDb also has excellent help articles for its contributors. Whenever I get stuck, I still use them.

Creating IMDb pages: the process and the hard parts

The hardest part has changed over the years as my understanding of how to work with the platform has changed. Like anything in life, the longer you stick at it, the greater the variety of problems you’ll get to solve.

In the beginning, the hard part was learning how to use the technology so I could correctly upload the credits. 🛠️

Then, it was figuring out the most efficient way to build a page. A common mistake I see people making is forgetting to add episodes to a TV series once the page has been created. This should be done before any individual credits are added. Another thing I learned the hard way was that it was better to upload the credits in small batches instead of all at once. I used to upload the entire credits all in one go, but sometimes that would cause IMDb to freeze, so I’d have to refresh the page and start all over. 🤦‍♂️

As the size of the productions I was uploading credits for increased, the challenge became how to make it easy for producers to send me what I needed. 🕊️ The solution I came up with was to create a Word doc template that takes about 15mins for a producer to fill out, supplying me with everything. From here, I might ask some clarifying questions. Only then will I start uploading all the credits. Once I’m done, I’ll ask them so they can check everything. This process can take anywhere from half a week to two weeks, depending on the size of the project, how good the communication is and how many projects I’m juggling. After a little more back and forth over email to tidy up anything I’ve missed or that they want changed, they’ll request an invoice. I always agree to an exact price before starting any project, so there are no surprises. Once they’ve paid, we go our separate ways until their next project. 🤝

I encourage producers to share a link to their show’s IMDb page once all the credits are up. Cast and crew always get a kick out of this. 🥳

Over the years, the most consistently frustrating part of working with IMDb has been the wait time for credits to be approved. When I started back in 2011, it would take as long as 3-4 days for credits to be approved. These days, the turnaround can still take 24hrs. Whenever I have to provide an explanation for a change (which is required for actions such as deleting a credit), I always try to be ruthlessly efficient in my ask.

I find the work so absorbing that I sometimes forget my wrist hurts or that my neck is sore from sitting in the same position for so long. This is the price of being in a state of flow.

It’s amazing to me that this website is the 36th most-visited on the internet. It’s a reminder of what happens when a community of people all around the world work together for a common cause. What better cause than for the joy of celebrating those who entertain us.

Why I think I’ll always continue to create IMDb pages for people that make film and TV

The importance of something like IMDb has only increased. On-screen credits have almost completely vanished due to increasing time pressure from advertisers and budget constraints. In addition, private CVs don’t quite hold the same weight as the public accountability that goes with listing your past experience on IMDb or LinkedIn. Founded 12 years after IMDb, I’ve sometimes wondered if LinkedIn would exist if not for IMDb.

The simple act of crediting everyone on IMDb goes a long way to helping people feel seen and valued at work. The world of film and TV can be all smoke and mirrors sometimes. A lot of people that do great work don’t get the credit they deserve. It’s my least favourite part of the entertainment industry. My vision is for everyone to get recognised for their work.

Producers that care about the wellbeing of their cast and crew understand that celebrating everyone’s contribution is just as important as the contribution itself. Publicly acknowledging everyone’s work on an IMDb page is truly an act of leadership and deep caring for your people. 💛

Next to word-of-mouth, an up-to-date IMDb page is the next best thing to help people discover your work and help everyone get their next gig.

A very brief history of IMDb

IMDb was founded in 1990 by Col Needham, who remains CEO to this day. Happily, Needham’s Wikipedia profile photo is exactly what you might picture for ‘guy who likes watching movies and TV shows’.

The company was purchased in 1998 by Amazon, who are its present-day owners.

The way IMDb works is really simple:

  1. There’s a community of people who upload credits for TV shows and movies.
  2. Those credits become an online CV for people who work in the industry, while at the same time doubling as a database for fans of TV and film, many of whom use IMDb to figure out what to watch next.

How does IMDb make money & should I pay for IMDb Pro?

IMDb makes money via a subscription model. For US$149.99 per year, you can upgrade to IMDbPro. I used to pay for this when I was a producer, but you don’t need it to be able to upload credits, so I stopped paying.

IMDbPro can be a great investment for:

  • 🇺🇸 People who live in America or who aspire to work in America. Many U.S. producers rely heavily on IMDb to find cast and crew. Agents searching for new talent to work with will also often look at IMDb to see what you’ve worked on.
  • 🎭 Actors who benefit from the ability to upload a profile photo, which you can’t do on the free version of IMDb.
  • ℹ️ Producers who want to find contact information for cast and crew quickly, while also making it easy for people to be able to contact them or their agent. IMDbPro gives you the ability to upload your email and phone number so people can easily get in touch directly. Higher profile people will typically list their agent’s contact details on their profile.

There are other interesting benefits and use cases, but these are the most obvious to me and the most compelling. The best way to work out if it’s a worthwhile investment is to sign up for a 30-day free trial.

How you can get in touch with me

I’d love to chat about your latest project to see how we can help one another.

You can reach me directly at

Whether you’re a producer who wants to explore having an IMDb page made for your show, an actor who wants some help making their profile casting-director ready or anything else, reach out and say hi.

Also, if you’d like to learn how to create IMDb pages yourself, I’d be happy to teach you. 😊



[1] List of most-visited websites according to data from Similarweb and Semrush.

Art by Sierra Truong

Get more things like this in my free weekly newsletter 3 Things.

Leave a Reply

2 responses to “My 12 years creating IMDb pages: Celebrating the people that make the films and TV shows you love”

  1. Cathy Zeng Avatar
    Cathy Zeng

    Dean, this is incredibly cool! As someone who’s also been contributing to these sorts of online databases (albeit for music and books instead), I could certainly relate to a lot of what you were saying about your reasons for contributing to IMDb and I totally agree that it’s become more important than ever as a place where people can be given the credit they deserve.

    1. Dean Robert Watson Avatar

      I once tried to figure out how to become a Wikipedia contributor, but for some reason that one never stuck the way IMDb has. I think IMDb is more personal for me—I know many of the people working on these shows. It sounds like you too know how satisfying it can be to contribute to something online that is bigger than yourself. The internet is still a magical place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *